Peru’s president for FTA initialling

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Peru’s president for FTA initialling

Peruvian President Alan Garcia arrived in Seoul yesterday to attend the initialing of a free trade pact with Korea, a procedure taken prior to actually signing the document, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

The two countries reached an agreement on the FTA in August.

Korea’s second free trade agreement with a South American country will be initialed today by the trade ministers from the two countries in the presence of Garcia and President Lee Myung-bak, the ministry said.

The initialing will be followed by a legal review of the agreed-upon terms by both parties.

“We expect the signing will be done as early as the first quarter of next year,” said a senior official at the ministry said.

The Korea-Peru FTA was agreed on by Kim Jong-hoon, Korea’s Minister for Trade, and his counterpart Martin Perez, in Lima on Aug. 30, on the fifth round of negotiations, 17 months after Korea first started negotiating with Peru. The Korea-Chile FTA, signed in 2003 and implemented a year later, was the first for Korea in South America.

The FTA with Peru, as agreed to in August, will eliminate tariffs for many Korean industrial products including automobiles and electronics. More than 100 agriculture and fishery products from Korea were excluded from the agreement.

According to the Korean Chamber of Commerce and Industry, trade between Korea and Peru has increased from $400 million in 2004 to $1.6 billion last year. Peru’s government estimates that the FTA with Korea could boost commerce between the two to $7 billion by 2016.

At the summit with Lee, Garcia will also discuss the issue of bilateral economic cooperation, the Foreign Ministry said.

Garcia will visit major industrial sites, including oil refineries and chemical factories in Ulsan, the ministry said, and meet representatives of Korean companies in Peru. He leaves Korea tomorrow.

By Moon Gwang-lip []
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